Tobacco & Salt Museum

The collections of smoking paraphernalia on the Tobacco floor are pure amusement gold. These two are my personal faves

Salt and tobacco, the two unlikely subjects of this strangely rewarding museum, were both protected by a Japanese government monopoly for many years, and that’s why there’s a museum devoted to such seemingly unrelated industries. Prosaic as they may sound, one look at the quirky treasures in the collections will zoom this museum straight to the top of your “I’m so glad we went!” list.

Life-sized scenes depict the historical tobacco trade in Japan
But it’s the smoking swag collections that really mesmerize
Who could resist the vast number of Meerschaum pipes, each more eccentric than the last? “Wooden pipe with bears”? And “Pipe with snakes in relief”? And it just gets better
You can’t have pipes without tobacco tampers…
…kitch galore tobacco storage jars…
…some in the shape of birds with cigars WAT
And all self-respecting pipes need little sofas to lounge about on when not being smoked
The Salt floor is a little more educational – with examples of all the forms salt takes naturally, plus factoids galore about all the stuff salt is used for
And there are, of course (hey, it’s Japan!) killer models showing salt cultivation tactics of yore
But it’s the “whoa, is that statue really carved from a pillar of rock salt”? and…
…the “hey, check out the salt chandelier!” that really make this floor a must-see
I also love that they give instructions for doing little salt projects at home, like growing a sparkly salt crystal encrusted-ship’s model
And if the amusing exhibits weren’t enough to make you want to check out this museum, they’ve got a killer gift shop too. I mean, the matches alone…!

Also, if you feel like taking one of my favorite walks in Tokyo after visiting the Tobacco & Salt Museum, the canal that passes by the back door is landscaped for kilometers in a truly delightful way, including many playgrounds for kids.

Open: Every day except closed Monday

Hours: 10:00 – 18:00

Admission: Adults ¥100; Children and students ¥50


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Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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